MAME Torrents

From Retro Arcade Guides

Torrents for the MAME emulator. This is an explanation of them.

All these torrents were created in a way that their contents can be used directly in the official MAME (derivatives might need different ROMs), without the need of copying, moving, renaming, compressing, or extracting any files or folders. Also, all torrents are complete.

For hints on where to save torrent contents, read Saving Torrents.

For hints on how to setup MAME to use the files downloaded directly, without need to copy them to another folder, read MAME Installation.

It's recommended reading MAME Split Merged and Non-Merged Sets first.

List of MAME torrents

A list of the main MAME torrents and a brief explanation of each follows:

MAME ROMs (split) or (merged) or (non-merged)
It contains game data of arcade games and the BIOS of all the emulated machines that require them.

For classic arcade machines, this is all you need.

MAME CHDs (merged)
Contains image dumps in CHD format of hard disks, DVDs, CDs, laser discs and similar of newer arcade games.

To scan or rebuild CHD files, read Scanning and Rebuilding CHDs to know which dat-file to use.

Only a small part of all supported machines requires this (2.4%), and most machines that require this don't work properly (74.4%).

MAME Software List ROMs (split) or (merged)
MAME Software List CHDs (merged)
These only contain non-arcade-related files, such as consoles, computers, calculators, handhelds and dedicated gaming machines.

They represent software (games, tools etc) in removable media, things an end-user would plug in to a system.

Smaller removable media are on the ROMs torrent: tape cassettes, floppy disks and cartridges. Larger removable media are on the CHDs torrent: CDs, DVDs and hard disks.

Some files and folders are used by the emulator: artworks, cheats, controller settings and samples (read MAME Installation for instructions).

Other files and folders (information text files, manuals in PDF, marquees, in-game and title snapshots, flyers, control panels, icons and more) are mostly used by frontends.

The MAME EXTRAs and MAME Multimedia torrents are not released on the same schedule as the other torrents, so do not ask when or if new versions of these torrents will be released. They will be released when they are ready.

MAME Multimedia
This is actually part of the MAME EXTRAs, but due to the size it's in a separate torrent named MAME Multimedia that is released together with the full MAME EXTRAs torrent.

Contains short videos in MP4 format ("VideoSnaps") and music plus effects in MP3 format ("Soundtracks"), which are intended to be played by frontends as previews.

Not all frontends or emulator GUIs are able to display the videos. The official MAME isn't able to display them.

If you want to play videos with HyperSpin, use the videos that are on the bottom of this page instead.

If you want to play videos with other software, you can install a codec pack such as K-Lite Codec Pack.

MAME Update ROMs
MAME Update CHDs
MAME Update Software List ROMs
Download these to create the latest release from the previous one. Do not save the contents of these torrents on top of the full torrents or the full sets will be ruined.

General information on how to update torrents are in Methods to update a torrent.

Use a ROM manager to update the MAME ROMs (split) or (merged) or (non-merged) torrents with the MAME Update ROMs torrent. These guides will help: Category:MAME Main Guides.

The MAME CHDs (merged) torrent can be updated using one of the guides above with the Dir2Dat dat-file or using TorrentCheck with "Attempt to fix/rebuild missing files" enabled.

To update the Software List ROMs, use a ROM manager.

To update the MAME EXTRAs, use a ROM manager. No dat-file of the MAME Update EXTRAs torrent is provided.

The MAME Update EXTRAs torrent also contains updates to the MAME Multimedia torrent.

MAME Rollback ROMs
MAME Rollback CHDs
In conjunction with a set of the same version, these are used to create an older set.

For example, the MAME ROMs 0.257 torrent together with the MAME Rollback ROMs 0.257 torrent can be used to create the older MAME ROMs 0.137 set.

To do that, clrmamepro's rebuilder must be used with the dat-file of the older version, which can be downloaded from .

Two rebuilds to the same destination folder must be done: from the MAME ROMs 0.257 torrent and from the MAME ROMs Rollback 0.257 torrent.

For the MAME Rollback CHDs the same process must be done, but the Dir2Dat dat-file of the older version must be used instead, which can be downloaded from the corresponding place.

Reading Old MAME Set is recommended. For specific information on creating sets for old or underpowered systems such as the Raspberry Pi, read MAME Reference Sets.

MAME ROMs (bios-devices)
MAME Software List ROMs (machines-bios-devices)
These sets come in handy specifically when you collect PARTIAL sets of the Merged or Split kind OR if you collect JUST the Software List ROMs set, and NOT the MAME ROMs set at all. Another use is for different emulators/systems that often require specific BIOS files.

Note: If you collect MAME ROMs and MAME Software List FULL sets, then these files are included in the sets, and there is no specific need for you to download these as well.

In other words:

  • You don't need MAME ROMs (bios-devices) if you have completely downloaded MAME ROMs (split) or (merged) or (non-merged).
  • You don't need MAME Software List ROMs (machines-bios-devices) if you have completely downloaded MAME Software List ROMs (split) or (merged).

BIOS: Some arcade machines shared a common hardware platform, such as the Neo-Geo arcade hardware. As the main board had data necessary to start up and self-test the hardware before passing it off to the game cartridge, it’s not really appropriate to store that data as part of the game ROM sets. Instead, it is stored as a BIOS image for the system itself (e.g. NEOGEO.ZIP for Neo-Geo games).

Device: Frequently the arcade manufacturers would reuse pieces of their designs multiple times in order to save on costs and time. Some of these smaller circuits would reappear in later boards that had minimal common ground with the previous boards that used the circuit, so you couldn’t just have them share the circuit/ROM data through a normal parent/clone relationship. Instead, these re-used designs and ROM data are categorized as a Device, with the data stored as a Device set. For instance, Namco used the Namco 51xx custom I/O chip to handle the joystick and DIP switches for Galaga and other games, and as such you’ll also need the NAMCO51.ZIP device set as well as any needed for the game.

Which torrents do I need to download?

People often ask which torrents they need to download according to what they want. Below is a list of the most common cases:

I only want arcade games.
MAME ROMs required
MAME CHDs optional (for larger, newer games)

I only want some very old arcade games.
MAME ROMs (non-merged) get only the zips you want (has all required files in each zip, except CHDs)

I only want console games.
MAME ROMs required*
MAME Software List ROMs required
MAME Software List CHDs optional (for larger, newer games)

I only want some very old console games.
MAME ROMs required*
MAME Software List ROMs get only the zips you want

I'll use a frontend or want cheats, artwork, bezels, marquees, snapshots etc.
MAME EXTRAs recommended
MAME Multimedia optional (short videos and music)

I'll use an older version of MAME.
MAME Rollback ROMs
to create an older set of ROMs
MAME Rollback CHDs
to create an older set of CHDs

* Note: The MAME ROMs torrent is required on these two cases because the BIOSes for non-arcade systems are there and not in the MAME ROMs (bios-devices) torrent. There isn't an automated way of separating these files using MAME's XML.

Torrents' sizes of a collection

Just for comparison, below is a table with the sizes of a MAME collection:

Torrent Size (GB) % of Total
MAME ROMs (merged) 73.26 1.72%
MAME CHDs (merged) 935.51 21.91%
MAME EXTRAs 64.97 1.52%
MAME Multimedia 22.19 0.52%
MAME Software List ROMs (merged) 82.08 1.92%
MAME Software List CHDs (merged) 2,654.21 62.17%
MAME Rollback ROMs 9.00 0.21%
MAME Rollback CHDs 427.99 10.03%
Total 4,269.21 100.00%

From the table above, the total size of a MAME collection is about 4.17 terabytes.


Here are the Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Question: My ROM manager shows some files missing in the MAME ROMs torrent.
  • Answer: Due to merging differences, you have to use the dat-file provided, not MAME's binary or any other source. Also, each clone doesn't have to have its own ZIP file on Split ROM sets.

  • Question: Can I use the MAME ROMs (split) or (non-merged) torrent and the MAME CHDs (merged) together?
  • Answer: Yes. No files need to be moved or renamed to work on MAME.

  • Question: The "Rollback" and the "Update" torrents are Split, Merged or Non-Merged?
  • Answer: None of them, they only contain specific files to be added to their respective full torrents.

  • Question: Why there isn't a Split CHDs torrent?
  • Answer: The MAME CHDs torrent is Merged, that means that the parent and clone CHDs are on the same folder. If the torrent was Split, there would have a copy of the same CHD for each of the clone games, which would make the torrent much larger, without any advantage.

  • Question: My upload speeds for these torrents are very low.
  • Answer: Always seed the latest versions of these. Also, try to start seeding as soon as they are released.

  • Question: I just want to keep some games but when I try to run a game I get a message saying that files are missing.
  • Answer: To know which files you'll have to keep or delete, read Filtering MAME games. Downloading part of the Non-Merged torrent might be a good solution.

  • Question: When using a MAME ROMs XML on clrmamepro, the scanner has Non-Merged Sets selected by default and I can't choose "Split Sets" or "Merged Sets". Why?
  • Answer: That XML attached is hard coded as a specific merge mode (as if it was created by Dir2dat), so there isn't parent-clone relationships on the XML and because of that the merge mode can't be selected.

See also